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  • Allen Classic MDC-22

    Hello! I am new to the organ forum, and the organ world in general. I'm twelve years old, and the pipe organ fascinates me. Last April, I acquired an Allen MDC-22 organ from Mr. Lance Luce of Evola Music, in Michigan. I only take piano, so the organ is just for fun right now. What should I know about using it, and maximizing the experience I can get out of it. I do have a general understanding of registration and what all of the general effects do.


    Thank You, Van

    If it helps, here is a stoplist. Additionally, the output is in 2 channels; Flute-Reed and String.


    GREAT:
    16' Bourdon
    8' Principal
    8' Flute
    4' Octave
    4' Flute
    2 2/3' Nazard
    2' Piccolo
    1' Fife
    16' Bassoon
    8' Trumpet
    Carrillon
    Percussion
    Vibrato

    SWELL:
    16' Violone
    16' Lieblech Gedackt
    8' Viola
    8' Gedackt
    4' String
    4' Flute
    2' Blockflüte
    8' Oboe
    Celeste on swell
    Percussion
    Sustain
    Vibrato

    PEDAL:
    16' Principal
    16' Bourdon
    8' Octave
    8' Gedackt
    4' Flute
    16' Bassoon
    8' Horn

    GENERAL:
    Chiff
    Reeds Forte
    Strings Piano
    Random Motion Off
    Reverb
    Flute Chorus
    Flute Tremulant
    Presence Projection

  • #2
    Welcome to the Organ Forum and to your start with organs. Feel free to ask questions, and do not hold back. We try to be a friendly group, and even basic questions are welcome.

    The MDC-22 is a basic instrument, so it is somewhat limited, but you can learn a lot about playing the organ with it. Note that this is an early digital organ, and they were limited to 12 notes total, but when you use the Celeste, each note counts as two--so big chords on the Swell with Celeste may cause some other notes to drop out. But it is still a very useful effect.

    Have fun with your new instrument!

    Comment


    • #3
      Welcome! And it’s nice to hear from a person your age who is fascinated by the organ.

      I’d recommend a good book, in particular I found the ‘Master Studies for the Organ’ by William Carl to be helpful. (I think that’s the one, I’m away from home right now.) There are obviously many others, such as pedal etudes or other studies, and there are many good ones. However I found that one particularly helpful as a pianist learning the organ, developing the mind the use the feet to play notes.

      As far as registration, I suggest learning the basics with an awareness of the kinds of sounds and combination which you particularly like. I have long been influenced by Jean Guillou’s approach to registration which I think can be fabulous but his are not exactly ‘kosher’, although I find they can be very expressive. The point is that you should learn a foundation but be aware of your own personal interests.
      Viscount C400 3-manual
      8 channels + 2 reverb channels (w/ Lexicon MX200)
      Klipsch RSX-3 speakers and Klipsch Ultra 5.1 subwoofers

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      • #4
        Thank you! Do you have a link to the book you recommended? I would like to check it out.
        Happy holidays!

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Trumpet Mirabilis View Post
          What should I know about using it, and maximizing the experience I can get out of it. I do have a general understanding of registration and what all of the general effects do.
          Van,

          First off, can you tell us more about your understanding of registration? It will help us help you without duplicating your existing efforts. May I also recommend you read the owners manual that came with the organ? The manual can be downloaded here if you need it: https://www.allenorgan.com/www/suppo...s/033-0006.pdf. About 1/2 way through the manual, it discusses playing technique, registration, and registration for other effects.

          If you're wanting to learn organ playing technique, it will be also helpful to know what type of music you wish to play. For example, playing church hymns and church organ technique/style are unlike theatre organ technique/style (think--silent films). If I recall correctly, Mr. Luce is a theatre organist.

          Welcome to the Forum, and I hope you enjoy your time here. I am jealous of your ownership of an organ I could only salivate over at your age! I finally obtained my first church organ when I was in my 40s, so I hope you truly understand how fortunate you are to have an instrument in your home.

          While a person your age is just beginning to demonstrate your musical interest in musically diverse ways, be sure to always include your parent(s) in your endeavors. Now that my parents are no longer with us, I am beginning to realize how much both of them championed my musical endeavors at a young age, while protecting me at the same time. It's a tough job, but make sure you at least listen to their advice--in fact, involve them in your posts here on the Forum so they can develop an understanding of what direction you will be taking in the near future. Your parent(s) can either be your biggest ally or your stiffest opposition. Make sure to include them.

          Again, Welcome to the Forum!

          Michael
          Way too many organs to list, but I do have 5 Allens:
          • MOS-2 Model 505-B / ADC-4300-DK / ADC-5400 / ADC-6000 (Symphony) / ADC-8000DKC
          • Lowrey Heritage (DSO-1)
          • 11 Pump Organs, 1 Pipe Organ & 7 Pianos

          Comment


          • #6
            Glad to see how welcoming everyone is! First and foremost, I have read the manual and gotten to know the registration a bit better now. Thanks for the link! By a general understanding, I meant that I know how to pick the stops for a song (at least, I think I do!) All my musical experience has been on piano, so like I mentioned, any organ playing is really only transposed, and rearranged piano. I am lucky enough to say my parents fully support what I enjoy, and have been willing to drive me to churches in the Metro-Detroit area to meet organists. My musical taste, or at least when it comes to organ kind of falls all over the place. Sometimes I hear a church organ and say "Wow! I love it!" but I am not limited to that.

            Best,
            Van.

            Comment


            • #7
              If you are getting acquainted with organists in your area, you are on the right track. Most of us learned and continue to learn a great deal of what we know about organs from other organists. If you are fortunate enough to find someone who is willing to guide you very kindly into a greater understanding of the instrument, you may make great progress.

              There are many internet resources which can be found by searching. Several churches, notably the Mormons, provide very practical and useful information and training for organists on web pages.

              The little MDC organ you have is adequate for gaining a basic feel for the instrument. The tones are fairly representative of what you would find on a more complete and modern organ, even though there are well-known limitations to that model. The pedals are slightly more compact than the standard AGO pedals you would find on most pipe organs, but many organists have learned on that type of pedalboard and had no problem adapting to the AGO unit when moving up to one.

              I think you'll enjoy posting and reading here and you'll probably gain some important knowledge by following some of the discussions here about organ tone, registration, design, and so on, as well as music and playing the organ.

              Good luck and welcome aboard! Always feel free to ask questions. There are no bad questions.
              John
              ----------
              *** Please post your questions about technical service or repair matters ON THE FORUM. Do not send your questions to me or another member by private message. Information shared is for the benefit of the entire organ community, but other folks will not be helped by information we exchange in private messages!

              https://www.facebook.com/pages/Birds...97551893588434

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              • #8
                Originally posted by jbird604 View Post
                Good luck and welcome aboard! Always feel free to ask questions. There are no bad questions.
                Dr. Huw Lewis told a group at the NPM Convention in Grand Rapids, MI: "You're never too old to ask a question. You'll never know, unless you ask."
                Allen MOS 1105 (1982)
                Allen ADC 5000 (1985) w/ MDS Expander II (drawer unit)
                Henry Reinich Pipe 2m/29ranks (1908)

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                • #9
                  Thank you! I'm lucky to have found this website.
                  Happy New Years!
                  Van

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                  • #10
                    I would recommend that you start by learning techniques and registration for classical organ literature. Once you are grounded in that, you can easily learn theater organ techniques. Becoming a student member of the nearest American Guild of Organist chapter will give you access to many highly skilled organist. If your piano teacher does not teach organ, you probably need to find an organ teacher to supplement what you are learning on the piano. I am retired and have played organ since I was your age and it has been a very special part of my life. I commend your interest and encourage you to become the best pianist and organist that you can be. Happy New Year!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Van,

                      Now that I have a day off, I've had time to look for more resources.
                      I hope this gets you started.

                      Also with your particular organ, the Flute 4' on the Swell will be the same as the Flute 4' on the Great and the Pedal. On pipe organs, this is called borrowing where one rank of pipes is used on more than one manual. When you play a pipe organ that has borrowing, when you play Middle C on one manual, and then Middle C on the other manual with the borrowed stop, you won't hear a 2nd sound on the 2nd manual. It can be very disconcerting when you experience it the first time.

                      However on your organ, Allen has made it so borrowed stops will play a very slight initial increase in volume when the 2nd note is pressed. That said, I wouldn't rely on it--it's best to have separate registrations on separate manuals just to be sure.

                      I hope this isn't too much information for you to digest. That said, however, you're going to be entering high school soon, and I know most schools across the US are beginning to utilize Portfolio Projects as a means of a summative portfolio assessment (what educators call it). If you're truly interested in the organ, it might make a great project to span the next 4 years in high school. The topic could range from researching and rescuing a pipe organ in the area, the science of digital audio sampling techniques, or even creating a web resource as a collection of organ stops taken from various digital organs (like the website: www.organstops.org does for pipe organs). The neat thing about the topic is that you will have the community impact, international input, and various experts at your fingertips in this Forum--all requirements of a Portfolio topic.

                      If you need help or guidance, let us know--we're here to help.

                      Michael

                      P.S. Find a good YouTube recording of Camille Saint-Saëns' 3rd Symphony (aka Organ Symphony) to see if you like classical organ. The 4th movement is what you should listen to (as well as the 2nd). It's so much fun to play!:->
                      Way too many organs to list, but I do have 5 Allens:
                      • MOS-2 Model 505-B / ADC-4300-DK / ADC-5400 / ADC-6000 (Symphony) / ADC-8000DKC
                      • Lowrey Heritage (DSO-1)
                      • 11 Pump Organs, 1 Pipe Organ & 7 Pianos

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